What’s Coming to You

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What’s Coming to You

If I ever romanticize
race in the South, just come

beat the shit out of me—
I’ll give you the home address.

But, if I try to be real
and miss the mark, cut me

what slack you can allot
a middle-aged, greying white man.

So—Clara, married to Willie Earl,
black tenants in a shack

on the sprawling Taylor place.
She was a soft mattress of brown

flesh, smelled like woodsmoke
in winter and ripe tomatoes

on summer days. Sometimes,
she ironed for us—less poor

folks—and kept me and my brothers
too when mom and dad attended

a foot-stompin’ revival or sing.
She rocked me to sleep pressed

against massive mother breasts,
gave me the first memories

of held enough and safe at night—
my own young mother’s breasts

having been touched too much
by family men who stunk

of hooch, and missed the ass-
whippings they earned by right.

5 thoughts on “What’s Coming to You

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